05 July 2019

Press release - British Red Cross calls for greater support for trafficked people following slavery convictions

The British Red Cross is calling for greater support for victims of human trafficking and modern slavery following the conviction of a gang that exploited more than 400 people.

Eight people have been convicted and jailed for offences connected to the trafficking and exploitation of hundreds of victims in the West Midlands.

British Red Cross anti-trafficking programme manager Kathryn Baldacchino said:

“We see the devastating long-term physical and emotional impact on people who’ve been trafficked as well as the effect it has in our communities. Today’s news is a stark reminder of the need to provide safe places and ongoing support to those caught up in this type of criminal activity, to help them recover and rebuild their lives following their exploitation.

“For the past 10 years, the British Red Cross has supported hundreds of exploited and potentially trafficked people through our frontline services, working with the police and other agencies. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that globally almost 25 million people are victims of forced labour. We are identifying and assisting these people in the face of an ever-growing need.

“No one forced to flee their home or country, whatever the reason, should end up more vulnerable. When they do, they should be seen as victims, not criminals themselves. We encounter people in the UK who have experienced exploitation not only in their country of origin, but along the route while they were seeking safety and after they have arrived in the UK. We want improved security and protection for people as well as longer-term support for those affected.”

Kathryn Baldacchino is available for media interviews.

For more information about the British Red Cross visit www.redcross.org.uk